tv NBC Nightly News NBC November 10, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm EST
on the broadcast tonight, game over for penn state's legendary coach. violence and chaos on a divided campus. and outrage over the charges of sexual abuse rocking a college to its core. how could it happen? they volunteered for duty and made the ultimate sacrifice to this country. but what happened to them is a national disgrace. will anyone pay the price? rick perry's oops moment at last night's debate. was it a fatal moment for his campaign? the secret tapes richard nixon thought would never be public. tonight they are out and we are learning more about one of the strangest episodes of his presidency. and making a difference. a woman helping other women soar to new heights and make millions along the way. to new heights and make millions along the way. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. a sexual abuse scandal is tearing apart the fabric of a
storied institution -- penn state university. the legendary football coach and the university president are out and even though this is a scandal over the alleged predatory abuse of innocent boys and the failure to stop it, last night the nation watched as some penn state students turned to violence, protesting the firing of coach joe paterno on a campus famously devoted to college football. they were warned today by the governor of pennsylvania that the nation is now watching their behavior. the irony of course here, not enough people were apparently watching the behavior inside penn state's football program going back over a decade. nbc's ron mott starts us off tonight from state college, p.a. ron, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. joe paterno's final day as penn state's football coach was full of drama and intrigue. the coach tried to control how he would exit the campus but in
the end it was the board of trustees that seized that control and fired him. >> joe paterno is no longer the head football coach effective immediately. >> reporter: after 46 years atop the throne of penn state's football kingdom, joe paterno got a phone call wednesday night trumping his planned retirement leading to his immediate ouster instead and that of the school's president. >> we thought that because of the difficulties that have engulfed our university, and they are great as you have all documented, that it was necessary for us to make a change in the leadership to set a course for a new direction. >> reporter: hours earlier, the 84-year-old paterno declared he would step down at the end of the season saying in a statement, the board should not spend a single minute discussing my status adding, i want to make this as easy for them as i possibly can. >> he wanted one more saturday because he thought he was owed that. he didn't even deserve that.
>> reporter: the immediate reaction on campus to paterno's firing was violent. students overturning and damaging vehicles, shouting obscenities about the former assistant coach charged with child sexual abuse. police used pepper spray to quell their protests. today, more measured responses emerged. >> i kind of have mixed feelings because the town, like, should be upset. but on the other hand, joepa could have done more. >> reporter: for the man tapped to replace the fallen legend, paterno's long-time assistant tom bradley, it's now about moving forward. >> coach paterno meant more to me than anybody except my father. i'm going to find a way to restore the confidence and start the healing process. >> we are -- >> penn state! >> reporter: as penn state re y readies for its final home game saturday against nebraska, student leaders call for calm and respect, especially for the alleged victims who have come forward. >> it's about the victims, actions that occurred and us standing by them and their families. >> reporter: in contrast to the scene that we saw that unfolded here on this campus last night
penn state students are planning a candlelight vigil tomorrow night in hopes of refocusing attention to the victims of this alleged sexual abuse, brian. >> ron mott. thanks. at the heart of this of course a 23-page document, the criminal indictment of former assistant coach jerry sandusky. it's tough to read, tough to talk about. it paints a disturbing portrait of a man who used his position to target and sexually abuse young boys, allegedly over a long period of time. and reading through the document, as our own savannah guthrie has been doing today, it also portrays a long list of missed opportunities to stop him. savannah is here with us in the studio tonight. while i know you happen to be a lawyer, you don't need a law degree to get the import of these charges. >> no question about it. this document tells a terrible tale. it alleges sandusky had a pattern of finding victims in the charity for underprivileged children he founded, luring them in some cases with gifts, trips and access to sporting events
and escalating the relationship into serious sexual abuse. the indictment tells the story of eight different victims, some of whom were subjected to repeated oral sex and intercourse. it's a timeline that starts in 1996 but doesn't end with sandusky's arrest until 15 years later. jerry sandusky is already working at penn state for nearly a decade when he starts the second mile in 1977, a nonprofit aimed at helping kids in trouble. nearly 20 years later in 1996, the indictment charges sandusky takes a young boy, under 10, to the football complex's locker room and touches him in the shower. two years later, in 1998 coach sandusky allegedly takes a different young boy into the showers. the child's mother notices his wet hair when he comes home and calls university police. in a later conversation with sandusky with police listening the indictment says the mother confronts the coach who allegedly admits he has showered
with other boys and doesn't agree to stop. one of the detectives later testifies that sandusky said to the mother, i understand, i was wrong. i wish i could get forgiveness. i know i won't get it from you. i wish i were dead. according to the indictment, the pennsylvania department of public welfare says sandusky admits to the encounter but the case is closed with no criminal charges filed. in 1999, sandusky retires from joe paterno's staff but is still permitted access to the team and its facilities. the indictment says during football season in the fall of 2000 a janitor who was a temporary employee at the school sees sandusky having oral sex with a boy in the team shower. his supervisor tells the janitor how to make a report but the janitor never does. then in march 2002, according to court documents, then graduate assistant -- now assistant coach mike mcqueary -- said he witnesses sandusky at the team's facilities having intercourse
with a boy in the showers who looks to be about 10 years old. prosecutors say he told joe paterno the next day. paterno reported the incident to the school's athletic director but prosecutors say the police were never called. no one attempted to locate the boy and the child welfare agency was never alerted. the school did take away sandusky's keys to the locker room and reported the alleged incident to his charity and of course sandusky and two other university officials, brian, who have been charged with perjury have all pleaded not guilty. >> this is so tough to take, tough to talk about. does paterno himself face any legal, criminal exposure? >> so far based on what prosecutors have alleged they haven't charged him with anything, not with perjury and not with anything related to the case. it seems that he met the bare legal requirement of reporting it to his superior. i think the criticism is he failed the moral test. people expected more of him. they expected him to use his considerable influence to raise the alarm, raise a fuss. most importantly when you read
this h indictment, brian, you s that prosecutors allege that after the 2002 incident that paterno knew about, sandusky went on to molest at least one other boy. >> savannah guthrie here tonight with more on our lead story. thanks. more tough stuff sadly. to the latest now on another outrage of national scope. the scandal at dover air force base where the remains of americans killed fighting overseas are returned home. we have always been led to believe they are all treated with great care and proper respect, but now we have learned some of those remains were mishandled, even lost, but no one was fired over it. the defense secretary leon panetta weighed in today and jim miklaszewski reports. >> reporter: the return of america's war dead to dover is one of the u.s. military's most sacred ceremonies. >> let us pray. >> reporter: iconic images preserved forever in film. but a series of recent scandals
has shattered the dignity of dover. the partial remains of some service members have been cremated and unceremoniously dumped into this virginia landfill. defense secretary leon panetta declared today that's unacceptable. >> we have to send a clear signal to the american people that these kinds of actions that took place there cannot happen again. >> reporter: the problems at dover don't stop there. partial remains of other service members have been lost. in one case a technician sawed off the mutilated arm of a deceased marine so his uniform would fit for burial. stan mcdowell's son, mark mcdowell, was killed in afghanistan. parts of his remains may be missing. mcdowell now wonders about the rest. >> maybe there are some things that's not what i think they should be. but i will never know. >> reporter: caroline learner heads the u.s. office of special counsel. its investigation of dover found gross mismanagement, violation
of rules and regulations and a pattern of misconduct and dishonesty. >> we are talking about people who gave their lives for our country and who are due the highest level of reverence and respect. >> reporter: secretary panetta today ordered additional investigations into dover. the three top leaders at dover have been disciplined but nobody has been fired. secretary panetta says he'll look into that, too. jim miklaszewski, nbc news, the pentagon. turning now to politics. the presidential race. last night's cnbc republican debate. even if you didn't watch the broadcast you have probably already seen what happened last night to rick perry. nbc's chuck todd was there and is with us tonight with the moment that's really already been cemented in the history of contemporary political debates. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. it was one of the bigger debate stumble moments maybe ever and it was by a republican candidate who could least afford it, rick perry. it was 50 seconds that seemed like an eternity. >> it's three agencies of government when i get there that
are gone. commerce, education and the, uh, what's the third one there? let's see. [ laughter ] >> you need five. >> oh, five, okay. commerce, education and -- the, um, uh -- >> reporter: about 20 minutes later perry finally recalled the third agency. >> by the way, that was the department of energy i was reaching for a while ago. [ laughter ] >> reporter: immediately after the debate, perry went into damage control mode. >> i'm glad i had my boots on tonight. i sure stepped in it out there. >> reporter: that continued this morning. >> if they go to rickperry.org they can participate as well and pick which one of those federal agencies they would like to get rid of. as a matter of fact they can go to rickperry.org. rickperry.org. >> reporter: for perry who hasn't been an official candidate for three months, this stumble is just the latest. he surged to the top of the polls in september, firing up the conservative base with provocative statements like this criticism of fed chair ben bernanke. >> if this guy prints more money
between now and the election, i don't know what y'all would do to him in iowa, but we'd -- we would treat him pretty ugly down in texas. >> reporter: with front runner status came attacks, questioning his conservative credentials, specifically on his immigration policy as texas governor. leading to this debate gaffe as he tried to turn the tables on mitt romney. >> was it before he was before the social program -- um, from the -- >> reporter: taking to the single digits in state polls perry has tried to jump start his campaign but now encounters skepticism about everything on the trail including this animated speech two weeks ago in new hampshire. >> live free or die, victory or death. bring it. >> it seems like governor perry is a perfect politics as baseball metaphor. he can hit pitching at aa ball in alpine, texas. he gets called up to the major leagues and he just can't do it there. so it's back home. >> reporter: perry's gaffe overshadowed the sexual
harassment cloud over herman cain who addressed that question before a friendly audience angry at the media. >> why should the american people hire a president if they feel there are character issues? >> the american people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: cain was just as defiant today about his accusers telling michigan supporters, quote, over the last couple of weeks i have been through hell. now here's the good news, it didn't kill me. brian? >> all right. chuck todd from our d.c. newsroom after an exciting night in politics. still ahead as we continue here tonight, richard nixon on tape describing one of the strangest nights of his presidency along with that famous 18-minute gap. and later this evening, making a difference for women by helping them grow a great idea and make millions along the way. them grow a great idea and make millions along the way.
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some of richard nixon's secrets are being revealed tonight for the first time. you're about to hear his voice and learn what he said under oath to the grand jury investigating his presidency after he'd already resigned, part of a trove of material released today. our justice correspondent pete williams has more on the new tapes including nixon's own description of a strange pre-dawn visit to the lincoln memorial. >> i want all the people -- >> reporter: it was one of the oddest moments in richard nixon's presidency. may, 1970. after sleeping only a few hours he got up at 4:00 a.m., listened to a little rachmaninoff and slipped out of the white house with just three secret service agents and headed to the lincoln memorial. students were stunned to see him show up where they were protesting the vietnam war. he dictated a memo about it. >> my goals in vietnam were the same as theirs -- to stop the killing, end the war, to bring peace. one spoke up and said, i hope
you realize that we're willing to die for what we believe in. i said, i certainly realize that. >> reporter: with nervous agents urging him to leave he grew philosophical about solving the nation's problems. >> i said candidly and honestly that i didn't have the answer, that i knew that young people today were searching as i was searching 40 years ago. >> reporter: also released today, secret transcripts of richard nixon's testimony to a federal grand jury ten months after he resigned the presidency. he described his reaction at learning that a white house tape of a critical meeting about the watergate scandal contained a gap, a buzz lasting 18 and a half minutes. quote, i practically blew my stack, nixon testifies adding, i don't know how it happened. his secretary rosemary woods insisted she accidentally triggered the eraser on the tape recorder while stretching across to answer the phone. she is deeply religious, nixon told investigators. she would never lie to me and i
believe her. historians hope the release will make it easier to get secret but historically important documents like these in the future. pete williams, nbc news, washington. up next, a major league baseball player kidnapped. and the next oscar host has been announced. kidnapped. and the next oscar host has been announced. i'm a chief warrant officer.
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as we mentioned a major league baseball player has been kidnapped while home in his native venezuela. wilson ramos, the 24-year-old catcher for the washington nationals. he just finished h his rookie season. he was kidnapped last night, taken away in an orange chevy suv later found abandoned. so far his family has not received a ransom request or any other communication from the kidnappers. authorities believe he is still alive. congresswoman michele bachmann got an earful from the occupy movement today. as they occupied a foreign
policy speech. she was trying to give a speech on the deck of the u.s.s. yorktown in charleston. it's home of the medal of honor museum. they rose from the crowd and started reading their message. >> american consumers -- [ shouting ] >> this will only take a minute. >> this will only take a minute! >> reporter: while they said their piece, reading in unison, the congresswoman was led off stage. when she came back she said, don't you love the first amendment? we learned today the most famous newlyweds prince william and his wife kate will soon be separated, at least temporarily, as the prince fulfills his duty to the country. tonight william and kate are hosting a black tie evening at st. james palace remembering those who died in battles since the second world war, wearing the british poppies on their lapels, shortly after their first christmas as a married couple william will head to the falkland islands for about six weeks. speaking of sports when you
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finally tonight our making a difference report about a woman who is helping other women soar in this tough economy by building their own businesses millions. who knows? maybe they will make a difference by creating lots of new jobs. our report from nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: leah brown is a force of energy who's built her own $30 million health care research firm while raising two sons as a single mom. now she wants women business owners to lead america back to economic prosperity. >> not only can we lead it. we are the solution. we are the growing segment of this country. >> reporter: today women
business owners like brown get help from a group called count me in. 1993.r daughter to work day ed now she wants to grow women-owned multi-million dollar businesses and create jobs. >> too many women have never met another woman who owns a million dollar company. >> reporter: around the country she sponsors "american idol"-type contests for women playing simon cowell. >> tell us what you do. >> reporter: as they pitch ideas. >> they get an enormous amount of encouragement and permission to be as big and as great as they want to be. >> reporter: leah brown won just four years ago. >> welcome. >> reporter: today she heads a company of 250. >> how many did you have in 2007 when you went to the competition? >> you're looking at her. >> reporter: brown got a line of credit, crucial confidence and strategic advice. there are ten and a half million women-owned businesses in this country but less than 2% of them bring in more than a million dollars. and the problem isn't a glass ceiling.
holding women back are what experts call glass walls. trying to do everything themselves, the lack of a strategic network and thinking small instead of thinking big. but they say these are not walls of discrimination. >> at this point in time we have to stop talking about this as a gender issue and start talking about it as an economic issue. >> reporter: a force that can rise with the help of community and confidence. anne thompson, nbc news, raleigh. >> and that is our broadcast on a thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we all hope you will be with us tomorrow evening as well. we all hope you will be with us tomorrow evening as well. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com